Southern California regional firm Best Best & Krieger finalized an agreement on April 1 to absorb Jenkins & Hogin, an eight-lawyer firm led by name partners Michael Jenkins and Christi Hogin that specializes in the practice of municipal law.
Jenkins & Hogin, based in Manhattan Beach was formed by its founders in 2001. As California city attorneys, Jenkins and Hogin both have a long history representing local municipalities and public agencies in the Golden State.
Through their firm, Jenkins has previously served as city attorney for the California cities of Goleta, Hermosa Beach, Rolling Hills and West Hollywood, while Hogin has done the same in Lomita, Malibu and Palos Verdes Estates. All are located near Los Angeles.
“Times are changing and the challenges facing California are complicated,” said Jenkins in a statement. “Effective local government is going to require new approaches. By joining forces with [Best Best & Krieger], we aim to make sure our clients keep getting excellent and innovative legal services. More than any other municipal law firm, I believe that BB&K has developed the right technological infrastructure and professional know-how in anticipation of the developments in our area of law.”
In a letter submitted last month to the city council of West Hollywood, Jenkins sought approval to transfer his firm’s legal services contract with the municipality to Best Best & Krieger. Jenkins wrote that the merger will not change the terms, fees or personnel currently performing the contract and noted that the merger will provide West Hollywood access to the resources of a larger firm.
The West Hollywood city council, as well as others, have agreed to let Jenkins & Hogin transfer its contracts to Best Best & Krieger. Jenkins & Hogin lawyers will continue to serve clients from a new South Bay office at Best Best & Krieger based in Manhattan Beach that will become the 10th outpost of the latter, which has nine offices in California and one in Washington, D.C.
Hogin said that her colleagues at Jenkins & Hogin were attracted to Best Best & Krieger because its lawyers share a similar interest in representing public agencies and assisting local governments.
“When those lawyers showed up, they are going to have much larger resources at their command,” said Hogin about her new firm. “The biggest change is for those lawyers to be able to use all of the resources to benefit our clients. In addition to that, there is a common interest among public clients. Now instead of just the seven cities [that Jenkins & Hogin represents], we can join forces to represent more than 40 cities, public agencies, city attorneys and all the other special districts.”
Founded more than 125 years ago in Riverside, Best Best & Krieger is a full-service law firm with nearly 200 lawyers. It has also been ranked as one of the best large firms in the country for female lawyers.
“We don’t do this really often, this is really only the third merger that we have done in probably the last 30 years,” said Best Best & Krieger managing partner Eric Garner, who leads the firm’s governing executive committee. (Best Best & Krieger entered the nation’s capital in 2011 after absorbing Miller & Van Eaton, a year after the former took on 18 lawyers from dissolving California firm McDonough Holland & Allen.)
Garner added that bolting on the team from Jenkins & Hogin will strengthen and increase his firm’s ability to serve clients in the areas of emerging technologies, environmental law and matters related to the Coastal Act and California Coastal Commission.
As Best Best & Krieger looks to expand its footprint in Los Angeles County, the expertise and experience brought by Jenkins & Hogin in representing west-side cities will significantly boost their profile in the region, Garner said.
Jenkins & Hogin’s union with Best Best & Krieger kicks off what could be a busy second quarter for law firm combinations. A recent report by legal consultancy Fairfax Associates found that a rapid pace in mergers involving legal service providers continued in the first three months of 2018.